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State Announces Health Plan for Low-Income New Yorkers

In 2016 low-income New Yorkers will have a new option for health coverage on the state health insurance marketplace. 

State Health Officials announced last week the adoption of a Basic Health Plan that allows people who earn up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line to enroll in low-cost health coverage.

Premiums cost around 20 dollars a month and there are no deductibles.

Elisabeth Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society, wrote a policy brief in support of the program in 2011. She explains people who earn near 133 percent of the federal poverty level tend to have changes in their income from year to year.

"We’re concerned about people kind of bouncing back and forth between the Medicaid program and Medicaid managed care plans and the Qualified Health Plans in the marketplace which have prospective enrollment," said Benjamin.

Benjamin says the BHP will eliminate barriers to care like high cost monthly premiums, but also the high deductibles that prevent some people for using the insurance that they do have.

"Because the deductible is a huge barrier for people to access care. This is a really great option for lower income people, which is why we pushed for it so hard," Benjamin told WXXI.

The state of Minnesota implemented a similar plan in 2014.